It’s Month 2 of DC Comics’ The New 52! It’s do-or-die this month for the books I bashed last month, and time to see if the titles I loved last month are as good as I thought! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #2 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. This week we get 13 #2 issues, including Swamp Thing #2! Swamp Thing #1 was among the most fan-favorite, critically-acclaimed comics in September. I liked it enough myself, but I wasn’t totally convinced of its quality yet. Then I read last Swamp-Thing #2, and now I’m ready to drink the green kool-aid myself…
This review will be as spoiler-free as possible.
Swamp Thing is not a character that I’ve ever had any previous affection for whatsover. Never saw the movie, never watched the cartoon, never had any interest in the comics. I’ve always considered Swamp Thing to be a lame ripoff of Man-Thing (yes, I know it’s just coincidence they look so similar as they were created at the same time), and I just had no interest in the character.
Having read two issues of this series, I’ve now gotten over that prejudice.
Swamp Thing #2 is the complete package: exemplary writing, gorgeous-yet-haunting artwork that flows across the page, compelling dialogue, horrific villains, and some of the most intriguing world-building I’ve seen in years. The introduction of the mythology of the Parliament of Trees is positively spellbinding, and I’m almost drooling at the prospect of tales of various Swamp Things throughout different ages and cultures.
There is more text and more information contained in this comic than any I’ve read in recent history, besides last month’s Superman #1. But unlike Superman #1, this book isn’t boring as hell. The words on the page here had my complete interest throughout, and were every bit as absorbing as the complex artwork surrounding them. In fact, the artwork and words sprawl across the pages in gorgeous layouts that, as corny as it may sound, make expository text cool!
I defined a total failure of a comic book last month to be any issue where I go into the book interested in a character and come out no longer wanting to read about them anymore. This is the precise opposite–I couldn’t have had any less interest in Alec Holland before, and now I’m anxious for the next issue even though it’s still a full month away. And Alec Holland hasn’t even appeared as Swamp Thing yet in this series! Writer Scott Snyder knocks this book out of the park, building anticipation and delivering expert characterization and exposition.
This comic was literally perfect until the last page. The big cliffhanger, last-page reveal is a character that is either so obscure that I have never heard of her ever, or an all-new character that really doesn’t look like anything special. In and of itself this usually wouldn’t be a problem, but given the phenomenal quality of all the pages leading up this, this last page is the least compelling in the entire book and squanders much of the momentum of the earlier pages.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
The obvious place to buy new comic books is your local comic book store, but if you don’t have one or can’t get to it, I highly recommend giving Things from Another World (TFAW.com) a try! Currently, they not only have Swamp Thing #2 in stock, but they have Swamp Thing #1, as well as most other books of the New 52! They stock a crazy huge number of comic books, and the prices on new releases and graphic novels are always 10-35% below cover price. I’ve been buying from TFAW for close to a decade now and never had a bad experience, so I have total confidence in their value and quality. Click here if you wanna take a look at buying comics from Things from Another World.
Overall: This was a brilliant, near-perfect comic book. I’ll go so far as to say that this is my favorite of all 65 issues of The New 52 released thus far. Thought-provoking, fascinating, and terrifying–Swamp Thing is the real deal. Even if you’ve never read a Swamp Thing comic or liked the character before, I give this my highest possible recommendation for a comic book and urge you to give this extraordinary series a chance.